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CD review BLIND GUARDIAN "Live Beyond the Spheres"

Veröffentlicht am 6. Juli 2017 von Markus W. in Blind Guardian, News, Live, CD Review, Heavy Metal, Power Metal, Prog Metal, Speed Metal, Nuclear Blast, Symphonic Metal

CD review BLIND GUARDIAN "Live Beyond the Spheres"

(9/10) To introduce Blind Guardian is like carrying sand to the beach. The German four-piece band is well known all over the world with extremely successful songs and longplayers. Ten studio albums are part of the band’s track record and also live albums have been released, capturing the fantastic vibe and sphere of a Blind Guardian show.

As we speak the next live release will hit the shelves. “Live Beyond the Spheres” is the fourth live album (not counting the video release from 2004) and I think that it fully lives up to expectation. In total 22 songs are a delight for each fan of this iconic band, enjoying with more than 2 hours of excellent metal music that combines musical finesse and energetic metal to a greater total.

I have to admit that I’m very much into the early Blind Guardian days. “Battalion of Fear”, the band’s debut, was and is an excellent metal album that paved the way for Blind Guardians success. It was the first countable step on a journey that finds another climax with this new live album. As being a fan from the beginning I was very happy to see classics like “Majesty”, “Valhalla” and “Banish from Sanctuary” on the tracklist of this 3 CD package. These songs stand for a time when Blind Guardian was more perceived as a speed metal band. Overtime the quartet developed their sound by adding various layers to their music. Never losing the roots and foundation of the typical Blind Guardian sound, the band became more progressive with adding various structures to their songs. Blind Guardian is one of these bands that found the right formula for merging complexity, melody and heaviness to something unique, a trademark that makes the guys from Krefeld very recognizable up to date.

I run off the track a bit, so, back to this release. “Live Beyond the Spheres” offers a well-chosen overview of the bands musical achievement. I mentioned the older songs already but there’s also more than enough material on the album that will be loved by fans that ‘discovered’ the band more recently. Regardless if it’s “Fly”, “Twilight of the Gods” or “The Ninth Wave”, each of these newer songs fits perfectly together with the older material, leading to a comprehensive Blind Guardian experience for fans and rookies.

It goes without saying the sound and production of this live release is done in a perfect fashion, connecting 22 songs that have been recorded at various shows of the 2015 tour. Choosing such an approach includes the risk of scattered live compilation – not in this case. “Live Beyond the Spheres” stand as a rock and will be a joyful experience for every metal passionistas.

 

(9/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. The Ninth Wave
  2. Banish From Sanctuary
  3. Nightfall
  4. Prophecies
  5. Tanelorn
  6. The Last Candle
  7. And Then There was Silence
  8. The Lord of the Rings
  9. Fly
  10. Bright Eyes
  11. Lost in the Twilight Hall
  12. Imagination from the Other Side
  13. Into the Storm
  14. Twilight of the Gods
  15. A Past and Future Secret
  16. And the Story Ends
  17. Sacred Worlds
  18. The Bard’s Song (In the Forest)
  19. Valhalla
  20. Wheel of Time
  21. Majesty
  22. Mirror Mirror

 

Label: Nuclear Blast

Genre: Progressive Metal

Release Date EU: July 7th, 2017

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Book review "Systemstörung. Die Geschichte von Noise Records"

Veröffentlicht am 25. März 2017 von Markus W. in Noise Records, Book, Heavy Metal, Thrash Metal, Tech Metal, Prog Metal, News, Kreator, Voivod, Blind Guardian, Grave Digger, Tankard, Celtic Frost Hellhammer

Noise Records was one of the highly influential metal labels during the 80’s. The label was started by Ulrich Walterbach in 1984 and can be seen as a crucial factor in the history of heavy metal. Iconic bands like Kreator, Helloween, Grave Digger and Celtic Frost, but also bands from overseas like Canadian tech-thrashers Voivod have been signed by the label and released their first records; most of them still classics in metal. The most successful release was definitely Helloween’s “Keeper of the Seven Keys” cyclus with part 2 being sold more than 1 million times. In 2001 Noise Records became a part of Sanctuary Records and the brand slowly disappeared.

15 years later there’s a re-vitalisation of Noise Records that takes place, bringing some of the 80’s classic back into the spotlight. Under the banner of “Noise lebt!” compilations of Kreator, Tankard, and some more have been published end of 2016 and there is a comprehensive release of the first three Voivod classic planned for end of April this year.

Next to all that the history of Noise Records was written down in a book named “Systemstörung. Die Geschichte von Noise Records”. I got the German version but there's an English version too - "Damn the Machine. The Story of Noise Records". The book describes the raise and fall of the iconic label. 75 interviews with Walterbach, employees and colleagues have been the base for 504 pages, telling an interesting story, giving insights into one of the important labels in metal. Author and journalist David E. Gehlke did a real deep dive when it comes to the story of Noise Records, enriched with 225 photos.

Last but not least you might recognised the artwork of this book. Indeed, it was Voivod’s Michael ‘Away’ Langevin who did the front cover artwork and no one less than Blind Guardian’s Hansi Kürsch wrote a foreword for this amazing book.

 

David E. Gehlke

“Systemstörung. Die Geschichte von Noise Records”

I.P. Verlag

Release Date: March 24th, 2017

  • ISBN-10: 3940822108
  • ISBN-13: 978-3940822109
Photo by Markus Wiedenmann

Photo by Markus Wiedenmann

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CD review SINBREED "Master Creation"

Veröffentlicht am 27. Februar 2016 von Markus W. in Sinbreed, Blind Guardian, Heavy Metal, Power Metal, News, CD Review, Speed Metal

(7/10) Almost two years after having published their latest longplayer "Shadows" German power metal command Sinbreed is ready for a new release. "Master Creation" is the name of the new album which is third one of the four-piece band (guitarist Marcus Siepen recently left the band).

"Creation of Reality" opens the gates to "Master Creation". The song is well chosen since it includes all trademarks of the German four-piece. Fast Teutonic power metal with a good sense for catchy melodies and hard riffs, that's what you get and the history of band members like Frederik Ehmke (Blind Guardian) and also Langhans' contribution to Avantasia can be recognised more than once.

Also some more classic metal moments are included on "Master Creation" by having Maiden-like guitarlines and sing-a-long parts as being part of "Across the Great Divides".

"Moonlit Night" instead is kept in a more moderate pace with Langhans showing the entire potential of his vocal range, something that also goes for "At the Gate". The latter is a ballad that puts the soulful side of Sinbreed into the spotlight.

"Master Creator" is an solid power metal album with this very typical German vibe. All this is fine and dandy with one remark. Each of the tracks is well done and got a really good sound, but I'm missing these special moments and the 'wow' effects. The ten songs are solid and entertaining. It's all good but it feels a bit dusty too. Besides that Sinbreed fans can easily go for the new release.

 

(7/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Creation of Reality
  2. Across the Great Divides
  3. Behind a Mask
  4. Moonlit Night
  5. Master Creator
  6. Last Survivor
  7. At the Gate
  8. The Riddle
  9. The Voice
  10. On the Run

 

Label: AFM Records

Genre: Power Metal

Release Date EU: February 26th, 2016

CD review SINBREED "Master Creation"
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BLIND GUARDIAN and GRAVE DIGGER in tour in North America

Veröffentlicht am 13. Mai 2015 von Markus W. in Blind Guardian, Grave Digger, Heavy Metal, Symphonic Metal, News, Power Metal, Tour

A German metal package will embark to a North Amercia tour in November this year. Blind Guardian and Grave Digger will play quite some shows in the US and Canada. Here are the dates:

BLIND GUARDIAN and GRAVE DIGGER in tour in North America
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CD review BLIND GUARDIAN "Beyond the red mirror"

Veröffentlicht am 1. Februar 2015 von Markus W. in Blind Guardian, Heavy Metal, Power Metal, Speed Metal, News, CD Review

(9/10) There are some bands that releases on a regular base new albums which are all great. Gamma Ray is such a band, but also Blind Guardian belongs to this group. The guys from Krefeld, Germany don't have any bad or weak release in their discography. Eventhough their music changed during time they always improved their sound. The wild speed metal days from the "Batallions of fear" times are over since many years while the band added more elements to their music. But they managed to keep their trademarks and their uniqueness in the almost 30 years of Blind Guardian. They have created their own sound which makes them recognisable from the first note they play; and this is something very special in times when more and more bands start to sound similar.

Blind Guardian has been in the studio in the last months and the result was shipped in the meantime to your local record dealer. The name of the new masterpiece is "Beyond the red mirror" and it comes with 10 songs. Those give you more than one hour of pure Blind Guardian - value for money.

But also get 'quality for money', just as we know it from the band. The first song that was released was the single "Twilight of the Gods". This track was a good appetizer since it has the furious guitar riffs as well as the melodic parts, coming back mainly in the chorus. It's a track that reflects all you can expect from the band bundled in one track.

Blind Guardian takes their sound again to a next level. The songs are even more complex and multilayered. This is a joureny which started with "Tales from the twilight world" and it didn't end till know. "Beyond the red mirror" is again full of choirs, orchestrated sections, wild guitar riffs and on top of all this, the vocals from Hansi Kuersch. His unique voice is strong element of Blind Guardian's sound and the way he is singning reminds more to a narrator that guides you through the magic forest of "Beyond the red mirror".

My favorites on the album is next to "Twilight of the Gods" also "Sacred mind". It's a dark and gloomy song that belongs to the more straightforward ones on the album. But also the opener "The ninth wave" is a song I like a lot. It sounds a bit different than the other tracks which is the special charm of the tune. Starting with the known choir and dramatic classic music the song builds up to a bombastic nine minutes long 'ear candy'.

The album contains also a silent song. "Miracle machine" is the name of the tune that is piano based with the vocals from Kuersch. I was immediately reminded to Queen when I heard the track. Talking about Queen; I actually have more and more the feeling that Blind Guardian becomes a metal version of the iconic rock band when it comes to their sound.

The ending of this great album is called "Grande parade" which is another nine minutes long epos. The song is convincing with great melody lines and a variety of musical ideas. Compared to some other songs on the album the track sounds, even being bombastic, very much to the point and spreads a feeling of harmony.

Only small little remark from my side is, that Blind Guradian are close to overdo it with all the effects and different layers. It's no downer, but sometimes less could be more.

When it comes to the production of the album I must say that it couldn't be done better. It is a full-body sound that provides enough space for each element/instrument of Blind Guardian's sound. The album sounds fresh and powerful, what makes it to a real headbanger.

If 'progressive' means, that you develop constantly and never stand still, than "Beyond the red mirror" is a progressive album that reveals new details everytime you listen to it. And since the songs, eventhough they are complex, are still comprehensable, it is music that is highly entertaining for a broad group of metal fans.

 

(9/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. The ninth wave
  2. Twilight of the Gods
  3. Prophecies
  4. At the edge of time
  5. Ashes of eternity
  6. The holy grail
  7. The throne
  8. Sacred mind
  9. Miracle machine
  10. Grand parade

 

Label: Nuclear Blast

Genre: Heavy Metal

CD review BLIND GUARDIAN "Beyond the red mirror"
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CD review VISIGOTH "The revenant king"

Veröffentlicht am 22. Januar 2015 von Markus W. in Visigoth, Blind Guardian, Heavy Metal, Power Metal, Doom Metal, Iron Maiden, Candlemass, CD Review, News

(7/10) Quite interesting stuff is coming from Salt Lake City, Utah these days. Visigoth (named after an ancient German tribe) is coming from this area with a cool debut album in their bag. The band plays classical heavy metal with some power metal influences. The lyrics are more stereotype for this kind of music by singing about battles and myths; something that is indicated already by their name.

The band was founded in 2010 and consists out of Jamison Palmer (g), Leeland Campana (g), Jake Rogers (v), Matt Bortherton on bass and Mikey T. on drums. The first three are founding members while the rhythm section joined in at a later.

The five-piece released already a demo (two of the four tracks are also on the debut) and an EP between 2010 and 2012. Now it's time for Visigoths' debut "The revenant king" that will be published as we speak. The longplayer comes via Metal Blade and like with Below in 2014 it seems that the label has the right touch to find those newcomers that show potential.

As said earlier, the music is traditional heavy metal that can be placed somewhere between Iron Maiden (listening to the twin guitars and some guitar lines), Blind Guardian and even some Candlemass that comes up to the surface from time to time.

Next to the great riffing from Palmer and Campana I would like to mention the vocals. Jake Rogers is doing a great job and he has a wide range that fits perfect into the concept of the band. He is a real metal singer that can easily combine heaviness with melody in his way of singing.

The songs, nine in total, are expect the Manilla Road cover "Necropolis" all longer then 5 minutes; most of them have even an epically length of 7-9 minutes. This means that you get a lot of metal on this album. Small point of critic is that the flow in some tunes could be better. In a few tracks I had the feeling the the different elements that give the songs the diversity aren't connected that well. But this isn't disturbing and since it is the debut it's also something that shouldn't matter too much.

All in all I can say that Visigoth's debut is a record that should be checked by all fans of traditional metal and NWoBHM. You will get pure and raw metal.

 

(7/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. The revenant king
  2. Dungeon master
  3. Mammoth rider
  4. Blood sacrifice
  5. Iron brotherhood
  6. Necropolis
  7. Vengeance
  8. Creature of desire
  9. From the arcane mists of prophecy

 

Label: Metal Balde

Genre: Heavy Metal

CD review VISIGOTH "The revenant king"
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CD review SERIOUS BLACK "As daylight breaks"

Veröffentlicht am 14. Januar 2015 von Markus W. in Serious Black, Masterplan, Blind Guardian, Heavy Metal, Power Metal, Melodic Metal, News, CD Review

(7/10) Serious Black is a new band with well know band members. The most known one is Roland Grapow (ex- Helloween and Masterplan) that teamed up with bass player Mario Lochert (Emergency Gate). Lochert had the idea of such a band like Serious Black already for a longer period of time and after he convinced Grapow he contacted drummer Thomen Stauch, known from his time with Blind Guardian and Savage Circus. Having those guys on board the line-up was completed by adding "Urban Breed" (v), Dominik Sebastian (g) and Jan Vacik (keyboards). So it became a quite international band/project.

The six guys started in 2014 to work on their first album. The creative process of writing songs went very well and already after a few days the first ideas got more shape and form.

However, in the meantime the debut is recorded and ready to be shipped to your local record dealer. "As daylight breaks" is the name of the disc that hosts eleven songs. Based on the musicians history it is not a big surprise that we are talking in this case about melodic (power) metal.

The first single release also became the opener for the album. It is a good choice an a powerful beginning. "I seek no other life" expresses exactly what the title promises. It seems that Serious Black has found what they have been looking for. The opener is a fast track that has a touch of Axxis. It has a good groove and spreads a really positive vibe.

"High and low" starts even faster than the opener. Especially the chorus keeps the high speed while the verse is dominated by a crunchy guitar and real groove.

Half way Serious Black has build in a small break. The intermezzo "Temple of sun" is a short instrumental that introduces "Akhenaton", a song with a darker vibe, moderate pace and some oriental melody lines. Still the chorus is very catchy. For me one of the highlights on the album.

Will the album have a ballad? Yes. To my surprise it is the title track "As daylight breaks". The tune starts with a piano part  and the music creates a picture of a break of dawn. The song builds up to a power ballas (actually I don't like this word) that is quite dramatic and has an bombastic approach. Maybe songs like this have been heard before, but I also have to say that this one is one of the better ones. A ballad that doesn't 'taste' too sweet. And the vocal of Urban are thye cherry on the cake.

To mention also the in general powerful production of the album. Each instrument enough space to 'breath' and the total longplayer is a pure energizer.

Serious Black have not re-invented melodic power metal. It's the quality of the songs the arrangements that are convincing and the performance of experienced musicians that is the big 'plus' on this record. Fans from Axxis and Masterplan can go for this album without hesitations.

 

(7/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. I seek no other life
  2. High and low
  3. Sealing my fate
  4. Temple of the sun
  5. Akhenaton
  6. My mystic mind
  7. Trial of murder
  8. As daylight breaks
  9. Setting fire to the earth
  10. Listen to the storm
  11. Older and wiser

 

Label: AFM Records

Genre: Melodic Metal

CD review SERIOUS BLACK "As daylight breaks"
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